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On the Role of Attention and Ascription in the Formation of Intentions within Behavior

Summa, Michela | Mertens, Karl

Phänomenologische Forschungen, Bd. 2018 (2018), Iss. 2: S. 178–197

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Summa, Michela

Mertens, Karl


This article explores the roots of action in behavior. Departing from the standard understanding of action as ‘intentional behavior’, we argue that this view is often based on the underestimation of the intentional structures that are already operative within behavior. Distinguishing between a broader and a narrower meaning of intentionality, we then elaborate on the processes that lead from the diffuse and operative intentionality of behavior to the focused intentionality of action. In order to properly appreciate these processes, we show that a reassessment of the phenomenon of attention – which takes into consideration its double (passive and active) nature as well as its social embedment – is required. Finally, we discuss the interplay between the obtained reframing of the genesis of intentional actions with the phenomenon of social ascription